Working in nursing puts you right in the center of one of the most demanding and fast-paced careers worldwide. However, despite the long hours, physically demanding work, and emotional impact that can come from working with people who are suffering, many nurses love what they do and would not change it for the world. This is because, unlike many other career options, those who choose to become a nurse know that they are making a difference to each and every patient that they work with.
As a nurse, you face daily opportunities to bring comfort, compassion, and positivity to the life of patients who are going through some of the most difficult times. Nurses know that without them, healthcare today would simply not be the same. Along with the high rewards that come from working in this career, there are also lots of opportunities for nurses to progress and work in areas of nursing that they are the most interested in or passionate about. Nurse practitioners are advanced practice nurses who improve their skills to work in a role where they have more autonomy and responsibility when caring for patients.
If you are interested in a role as a nurse practitioner, these are some of the most important skills that you will need.
All nurses need to be highly skilled when it comes to communication. In any nursing role, it’s important that you are able to communicate effectively with your patients, even if you are in a situation where the patient isn’t being very nice to you. Nurses need to be able to communicate with people who are upset and in pain, and this often not only means having the ability to get the information across clearly but also developing strong non-verbal communication skills. In many cases, patients might struggle to communicate due to the situation that they are in. Nurse practitioners need to have excellent active listening skills and the ability to pick up on non-verbal signals to help them ensure that they offer the patient the best standard of care. Along with this, nurse practitioners often work as part of a wider healthcare team, in which good communication skills are necessary to ensure that everything runs smoothly.
Compassion and Empathy
Many nurses who choose to progress to the role of a nurse practitioner within their healthcare career will pick this route due to the ability to continue helping patients directly. Unlike other advanced nursing roles in management, research, or education where nurses move away from the bedside and into more office-based and administrative positions, a role as a nurse practitioner allows nurses to continue offering direct care and treatment to patients with more responsibility. To succeed, nurse practitioners need to continue with the high levels of empathy and compassion for their patients that they had as a registered nurse. An ability to put yourself in the shoes of the patient and imagine how they must be feeling in this situation is key when you are faced with diagnosing and offering treatments to patients who are dealing with a range of health conditions.
For those who have experience working as a registered nurse, you will already be aware of the importance of critical thinking skills while working in this field. Nurses and nurse practitioners in every specialty area often faced with situations where it is important to think critically, stay calm, and make the best decisions very quickly. Critical thinking skills will often link into your ability to cope under pressure. As a nurse practitioner, you may also be a key decision-maker for your team when it comes to patient care or dealing with emergency situations. This is especially true if you plan to run your own clinic as a family nurse practitioner or work in another independent role where you are heading a clinic such as retail health. A DNP nursing program from Baylor University with a focus on preparing nurses to work as a nurse practitioner will help you build on and develop the critical thinking skills that you have developed so far as a nurse.
Typically, nurse practitioners are left to work independently with lots of autonomy, so it’s important for these healthcare professionals to have a high level of self-confidence when it comes to the work that they do. Nurse practitioners need to be highly committed to making sure that their knowledge and skills are up to date so that they can always provide the best standards of care to their patients. In states where nurse practitioners are responsible for patient care with no supervision requirements from a physician, it’s even more important for nurse practitioners to work on keeping their knowledge current and being confident in the work that they do.
Nurse practitioners are highly trusted professionals who are left to get on with the job independently in the majority of US states. In this role, it’s important to hold yourself and others to only the highest ethical standards. Good nurse practitioners are people who will always work with integrity and hold themselves to the highest ethical standards in everything that they do. Nurse practitioners need to stick to a framework of ethics in every part of their job, and outside of the workplace too. Effective nurse practitioners are individuals who are committed to holding themselves accountable to these ethical standards and making sure that their knowledge of ethics in nursing and healthcare is always up to date. Along with holding themselves to high ethical standards, they have no problem blowing the whistle on any unethical behavior that they may witness and lead the way to improving the standards of patient care and being better advocates for the people that they care for.
Many of the skills that you will naturally develop in a role as a registered nurse are required at even higher standards while working as a nurse practitioner. If you are highly ethical, confident in yourself, committed to learning, compassionate, empathetic, and a skilled communicator, working as a nurse practitioner may be an ideal choice for you.